*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

I saw "The Red Hours" at the last Sitges Film Festival before the screening of "Eden lake" and when this short but very intense film finished I have the same sensation as much of the audience there. I was shocked. Not because of the violence, the sex or something like that. I was shocked by the super speedy trip to death that "Red hours" is. In just only ten but very brave minutes. This is a great virtue for the people that loved the film and the main problem for people who didn't catch it. The film only last for ten minutes but it feels like 3. Director John Fallon doesn't need to put 100 shots to get that sensation but a very subtle plot and direction where content and form work together to serve the film.

The film starts when our main character, Mark, (played by Deke Richards, a regular actor on Fallon's pictures who offers a very different performance from his other works, playing here a regular guy involved in an extraordinary situation. Great work BTW), a young man that seems to have problems with his girlfriend (Natasha) enters the bathroom of a rave party and takes a pill after spitting his own image on the mirror (a very strong image of self contempt). From that moment on it seems like the rejection of the self image is like a rejection of reality and things got complicated for a part of the audience and fascinating for a great deal of them. The film turns to black and white and the guy awakes in a house where two crazy lesbians (one of them Natasha) try to kill them. What the f***?! You must be saying, wait, I'll explain it just in a moment. So we are in horror realm and what follows is a great slasher / action sequence. After that we're back to reality; Mark awakes in the bathroom of the disco and goes to talk to Natasha and kills her with an extreme long kiss.

If you're asking yourself what the movie is about that's when things get interesting. I think that this surrealist piece is about the impossibility of a normal relationship between men and women on modern society. It is also about the fear of man to be castrated (literally or metaphorically) by women. That's the reason of the two lesbians. And that's the reason why we have a few shots of the girlfriend kissing with another girl in the reality segment. All the hallucination is about the fear of this guy that hates himself because he is losing his manhood because he has given it to the only person he loves. That's why he kills her at the end. He hates himself because she is not with him anymore. Some people can thing that this is a misogynist fantasy but I think that is a romantic tale.

Before the movie started, writer / director John Fallon told the audience that the screen was a rough cut. Good move because there are some shots that can be polished and the color correction can be improved also. Anyway, I was very surprised by the direction because I knew the work of Fallon as a writer and I thought that it would more dialog oriented. Big mistake, the film is almost without dialog. At the beginning Fallon even put subtitles during a few dialogs because we are in a disco and we are not supposed to hear what they're saying. I was very pleased to see this kind of Tony Scott technique here. He also goes with some kind of weird Buñuel / Lynch shots at the end of a cemetery when the guy is returning to reality and when he is killing the girl I think. It also can be saying that the whole movie is a "death trip", well, as matter of fact it is. I say "can be" because "Red hours" is very surrealist and that brings me back to the main theme of the movie that can also be applied to the critics (the audience seems to love it). They want horror films to be gore and bad and they want auteur films to be boring. From the moment a horror film is also an auteur film they don't understand it so they kill it. Just like men and women.